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The Ballad of Backwards and Forwards continues.

Nelson Predicts Sometimes - an un likely pairing that worked well

Part of me is reticent about putting too much in here about my circumstances.  This sporadic blog is about my creative process, it's actually a place for me to be concrete about where a collection is going.  I have a sort of vague intention that when ideas are confirmed in my head, I can put them in here to act as a bit of an anchor for me to return to as a reference.  

The fact is though, that my circumstances do, and always have driven my work.

There is a curious feeling when pieces are working/ clicking/ have just got it.  It's almost innate, inherent, part of you.  It gives me joy, my making kind of speeds up - in an excitement to capture the momentum of that part of the process.  That feeling boosts me, leaves me feeling lighter and stronger.  

Actually it is at that creative high when I would always call my sister and talk gibberish and laugh loads with her.  It took a while for me to have that feeling and to know what to do with it once she was not here anymore.  It kind of translated to tears, to talking aloud, to inundating Grant when he got home from work with excited chatter.  Now I have started to write more notes, still talk aloud and laugh, and wander in the garden!

Clara, Tully, Lara and Mia

This collection is definitely therapeutic to me.  My brain is all over the place since Grant died  8 months and 3 weeks ago.  I recognise grief from when my sister, Debbie, died in 2017.  I have been seeing a counsellor since last summer who has been an absolute star, she calms me and rationalises my thoughts.  But it's when I am in my studio processing ideas, working through a story and wondering how I can translate a particular moment, thought, message, with the materials in my hands, that I seem to stumble (but stay standing) forwards.  My work is carrying me onward.

I am talking about my husband in this collection, about our family, but it is (at this stage) massively about working through my grief.   With each step I take, even the ones where I feel I could be falling for a moment, it is about carrying on.  It is literally about getting up and continuing.  Processing all these mixed up emotions, turning them into small stories or anecdotes in my work, allows me to empty my head of the “too-muchness” of grief.  

There’s a lot of symbolism with the objects I chose to work with.  

  • Wings are for protection and flying away, escape.

  • Feathers are similar, and for hiding.

  • Animals are emotions, characters, they personify conversations in my head.  

  • Hearts for affection, for strength.  

  • Feet for steps forwards or backwards

  • Figures, and groups for friends, protection, help.

  • Flowers for growth, hope, comfort

  • Birds - freedom

  • Bright colours - joy, hope, hiding

  • Bling - looking on the bright side!  Also hiding behind the glamour - like a protective armour, I think of it like putting lipstick on.

  • Headdresses - like a crown, for dignity, strength, reassurance

  • The painted patterns on the figures are my versions of tattoos, secret personal symbols that are decorative but meaningful.

My pieces are mostly positive, or at the very least frank.  I find it helpful to create something which is hopeful, gently celebrative and acknowledging even sadness is simply a way of remembering.  If I look backwards it is to commemorate a time/ emotion/ event, not to mourn it.  That is simply how my brain works.  

Sharona and Tess, both on their own journeys of discovery

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